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Ukrainian president reaffirms Euro-Atlantic integration on first Brussels visit

On his first official visit to Brussels, Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelensky has reassured EU and NATO leaders that Euro-Atlantic integration remains a full priority for the country.

“The strategic course of Ukraine is aimed at full membership of the EU and NATO. This is enshrined in the Constitution of Ukraine and remains our unwavering foreign policy priority,” Mr Zelensky said on June 5, adding that stability in the Black Sea region is Ukraine’s task, but requires additional efforts from the North Atlantic military alliance.

“Ukraine is a valuable partner of NATO. You contribute to our missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, even if you have problems at home. We carry out many exercises together. It shows Ukraine’s high commitment to national security,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a joint press conference with the Ukrainian president.

The president added that he intended to put Ukraine’s membership in the North-Atlantic military alliance to a referendum. “We should inform every Ukrainian what NATO is, that it’s not so scary. And when all Ukrainians are ready, we will definitely put this issue to a referendum, and Ukraine will definitely be in NATO,” he told reporters in Brussels.

Speaking with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, Mr Zelensky thanked the EU for its continuous support, underscoring “the immutable priorities set in the Constitution of Ukraine, first of all, the strategic course of the state on acquiring full membership in the EU.” In addition, the two leaders confirmed the next EU-Ukraine summit for July 8.

Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president of the European Commission, told Mr Zelensky that the EU would finalise the consideration of the second tranche of a macroeconomic assistance program for Ukraine worth 500 million euros “as soon as the relevant requirements for its receipt are met by the Ukrainian side,” pointing to the country’s international financial obligations.

Photo: NATO